The Mentoring across Professions (MaP) project report presents case studies of ten exemplary work-based mentoring schemes from six different countries – England, Hungary, Norway, Romania, Turkey and the USA. A cross-case analysis revealed the powerful impact that employee mentoring schemes can have, with the following benefits for mentees identified:
- enhanced skills, job performance and effectiveness in role
- enhanced communication skills in particular
- improved relationships with colleagues
- enhanced career progression
- enhanced networking opportunities and access to useful networks
- improved understanding of organisation
- learning new perspectives and overcoming inertia
- changed dispositions and new ways of thinking
- increased personal awareness
- increased confidence
- enhanced wellbeing
- increased resilience
- enhanced motivation.
The research identified a number of common ingredients of effective employee mentoring schemes. Amongst these, such schemes tend to be more effective and have a greater positive impact on mentees, mentors and organisations where, for example:
- the mentoring scheme is well-structured and overseen by a mentoring coordinator
- there are rigorous mechanisms for mentor selection and matching mentors and mentees
- there is effective provision for initial mentor preparation/training and ongoing development
- there are training and development opportunities for mentees
- opportunities are created to ensure that mentors and mentees have regular and frequent contact, including face-to-face meetings
- mechanisms are in place to sustain confidentiality and other conditions for non-judgemental mentoring relationships
- there is (light touch) monitoring of mentoring relationships and evaluation of the scheme, to inform their ongoing development and improvement.
As previously found in the Mentoring and coaching for teachers in the Further Education and Skills Sector in England research, teacher mentoring schemes are frequently found wanting in these terms. In particular, Professor Hobson and his co-authors stress that mentoring must be ‘off-line’ (mentees must not be mentored by their line managers) and mentors should not be tasked with formally evaluating, assessing or appraising the work of their mentees, as is often the case in schools and colleges and rarely the case in effective mentoring schemes outside of the education sector.
In a paper being presented on the research as part of a Keynote Symposium on Teacher Mentoring at the British Educational Research Association’s Annual Conference (13-15 Sept), Professor Hobson will urge that the recently published National Standards for school-based initial teacher training (ITT) mentors (2016) is revised to reflect the evidence and recommendation that mentoring should be 'off-line' and non-judgemental.